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Cambridge Global Food Security

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

Held on 30 November 2020, this event was specifically created for our early career researcher (ECR) community. While this has been a turbulent year for everyone, it has also meant that ECRs have had fewer of the traditional platforms - such as science festivals, field trips and conferences - that are so necessary for showcasing their work and building the all-important professional networks needed in research careers. Therefore, we planned this event so that our ECRs could build insights into the career pathways that mid- to senior career researchers have taken (something that’s rarely discussed on a daily basis), and to give them a chance to have their work critiqued by a panel of senior researchers (useful for both the presenters and those preparing presentations). 

Reflections from senior career researchers:

Dr Jean Adams spoke on resilience, being confident in your abilities, and building good professional relationships.

Dr Helen Anne Curry also reflected on the importance of confidence, increasing the visibility of your work, and taking a ‘big picture’ view of your career.

Professor Julia Davies emphasised how important resilience and being open to change have been for her, as well as making good choices in terms of professional development training, applying for opportunities through the course of your career, and working in a supportive environment.    

Dr Lynn Dicks reflected on the importance of knowing that every researcher’s career journey is different, taking time for your personal life, being open to taking on other roles along the road to lecturer, thinking internationally and building international networks, and being confident in your abilities.

Dr Milorad Radakovic found that resilience, adaptability and having transferable skills assisted him in the different roles he has filled.  

Professor Bhaskar Vira also spoke on being open to change, understanding that impostor syndrome can happen to anyone, embracing interdisciplinary thought and practice, and understanding and focusing on your intellectual strengths. 

Reflections from mid-career researchers:

Dr Amy Munro-Faure talked about working on a diverse range of projects, saying ‘yes’ to the right opportunities, valuing your skills, and embracing creativity in your work.

Dr Mariana Fazenda articulated her journey from being a laboratory scientist to working in research program coordination.

Dr Annalisa Rizza spoke on resilience, moving towards being a more independent researcher, and how important it is to build a ‘package of expertise’ that can be used throughout your career.

Dr Will Summers discussed his journey from PhD student to joining the BBSRC funding agency.

Dr David Willer emphasised the importance of planning ahead for future posts, staying positive through the application process, and building both research and industry networks.

Flash talks:

Adam Muhammad Adam.

Dorien Braam.

Bright Nsolebna Jaato.

Emily Kate Servanté.

Hamish Symington.

Please find the password protected event recording HERE.